LSAT 13 – Section 4 – Question 23

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Type Tags Answer
Curve Question
PT13 S4 Q23
Strengthen +Streng
+Harder 145.536 +SubsectionMedium
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This is a strengthening question, as we are asked which answer choice: if true, provides the most support for the argument?

The stimulus begins by informing us that there are two subsets of a particular species of bird; crested and non-crested. The birds usually live in flocks composed of only one of these subsets, and have a preference for birds of the same variety as themselves. So in a crested flock you are likely to find only crested birds, and these birds will likely select crested mates. Interesting! We are further told that even if you move a bird from a flock where all the other birds are crested into a mixed flock, it will select a crested mate regardless of whether it itself is crested or non-crested. It’s important in this sentence that we realize that a flock where all other birds are crested does not mean the bird in question is itself crested. So it seems like non-crested birds from crested flocks will go against the general trend of the birds selecting mates of the same type. The author concludes from this that the preference for mates is learned rather than genetically determined.

If we think about the author’s reasoning, it does make some sense. We would expect birds to mostly select the same kind of mate if preference was learned since flocks are usually composed of one type, and this would also explain why there are exceptions when a bird is raised in a flock mostly of the other type. Since we are choosing one hypothesis (learned) over another (genetic) we should look for answers that support the learned hypothesis over the genetic one. Let’s look at our options:

Answer Choice (A) OK? First of all we are not interested in other bird species, we are interested in why this particular species has a pattern in its preferences for specifically whether a mate is crested or non-crested.

Answer Choice (B) Interesting! But we want support for why a particular behavior (mate selection) is caused by nurture rather than nature.

Answer Choice (C) We want to know why they have a particular preference, not whether they have other preferences.

Answer Choice (D) This actually weakens our learned trait hypothesis, because it shows that a bird can have a mating preference if there was no opportunity to have learned it since the bird was raised in captivity.

Correct Answer Choice (E) This strengthens our learned hypothesis by showing that in the absence of a crested or non-crested homogenous flock, birds lack the mating preference. This is what we would expect if the preference was learned, and not expect if it was genetic.

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